This story has gotten a bit large and complex – the best bet is to scroll down to where it says “Original Story” – start there and read the updates as numbered in order – Editor
Hello National Review, The Torch and Townhall readers – and thank you. – Editor
For those who are new to this story, should read the entry linked here to catch up - http://iusbvision.wordpress.com/2008/07/11/iupui-smears-student-in-wall-street-journal/
UPDATE III – SAMPSON WROTE AN EDITORIAL IN 1999 DEFENDING THE NAACP – Does this man seem racist to you ???
Keith Sampson's 1999 Newspaper Editorial Defending an NAACP Boycott. Click to Enlarge.
- Black Faculty & Staff Council Running Interference for Those who Falsely Persecuted and Accused Sampson of “Racial Harassment”.
- Black Faculty & Staff Council Blocks Faculty Vote on Resolution to Review Affirmative Action Office (AAO) Till Next School Year – Claims This is “Retaliation” Against AAO.
- AAO Dispute Procedures Weighted Against the Accused and Protect Bad Faith Accusers.
- IUPUI Continues to Violate Own Procedures – Chancellor Bantz Continues to Allow IUPUI PR Director to Slander Sampson with Bogus Charges to Press – Procedures Mandate that the Accused be Provided With a Copy of the Procedures …Sampson “they did not give me a copy”
- FIRE Writes New Letter to Chancellor Bantz – Wants Whisper Campaign Against Sampson Ended – Sums Up Media Firestorm – CBS, AP, WSJ, Chicago Trib., New York Times, L.A. Times, National Review, Blogs..
- An Open Letter to Chancellor Bantz
- Special outside investigator brought in by Chancellor Bantz has a history of her own – allowed classes to be restricted by race….
- New IUPUI Equal Opportunity Officer has history of violating rights; outrageous behavior got her previous employer sued – court docs below!
* * * * * * * Original Story* * * * * * * *
We have been poring through IUPUI documents to bring you the very latest on this important story. I expect tosee more updates below. For those who are new to this story, should read the entry linked here to catch up - http://iusbvision.wordpress.com/2008/07/11/iupui-smears-student-in-wall-street-journal/ - Editor
I have the minutes from the IUPUI Faculty Council meetings and they have been illuminating; especially the second meeting.
April 1, 2008 Faculty Council Meeting.
Some members of the faculty offer a resolution to review the AAO, and after a scandal of massive proportions as this one has been it is important to keep the confidence of the faculty and let those who wish it do a review do so. This meeting does have some content worth commenting on (see below in the commentary section).
Ward said Mr. Sampson is a student as well as a staff member. Ward said the student has shared the letters and the second letter does not indicate he has done anything wrong as well as the same for the staff member. Academically, he would like to see the university make a stronger statement regarding academic freedom and its ability to support the same. Vermette said he has made good points but needs to be a motion of some kind. The resolution speaks to everyone, not just students.
Spechler said there has been damage done to the institution and should there be a resolution that says we need to fix a problem? He has heard nothing from the other side. Either they choose not to speak or that no one has asked them. He thought there would have been an immediate resolution by the administration following the action.
Baldwin agrees with Spechler. What is the time table? When will the review be done? Bantz said the 28th of this month (estimate) and will be finished before the new officer arrives.
Packer asked if there has not been accountability of that office? She said her experience has been that a form letter is sent to the person who has been under review. Who is the office accountable to? Vermette responded that the office is under the Chancellor’s office.
Schneider asked if the Faculty Affairs Committee (FAC)has been informed of the review of the office? Bantz said the review will be done by an outside professional and will say whether we have good practices or if there are practices we are not be doing that should be done.
Ward and Spechler indicate they want something done and something done soon – they have the forsight to see that this is going to hit the university hard. It also indicates that these two are showing some genuine concern for academic ethics.
Ward and Spechler seem aware that this case isn’t brain surgery. The Supreme Court has made it crystal clear that academic study, research and speech is constitutionally protected no matter how offensive. So it would not have mattered if the book was pro-KKK instead of anti-KKK as it was. Sampson’s boss at work said that an anti-Klan book is like bringing porn to work. I have news for Sampson’s union and boss; the most hardcore porn book is constitutionally protected on campus so long as it is used for academic study. Indiana University does have the Kinsey Institute and campuses in the IU system teach the history of porn, the legal and cultural issues surrounding porn, and ethics classes debate and teach the ethical issues surrounding porn.
Chancellor Bantz says that the review of the AAO is being done by an outside party and that this review should be done on or about April 28th. I intend to get a copy of that report.
The proposed Resolution:
Proposed Resolution for the Review of the Affirmative Action Office
Approved by the IFC-EC 3-27-08
Amended and approved by the IFC-EC on 3-31-08
For approval by the IFC 4-1-08
Tabled until the IFC 4-15-08 meeting.
The Faculty Council requests that the Chancellor, in collaboration with the IFC Faculty Affairs Committee, immediately review the procedures of the IUPUI Office of Affirmative Action relating to the handling of allegations of discrimination and adopt immediately interim procedures, assuring fairness to all parties, comparable to those in use on the Bloomington Campus.
The Faculty Council elected to read up on IU Bloomington’s procedures for handling these kinds of problems and to review the AAO on their own before passing a resolution. They tabled the resolution until the next meeting. It all seems so reasonable.
April 15 2008 Faculty Council Meeting – The Black Faculty & Staff Council intervenes… its “retaliation”:
Agenda Item VII: [Action Item]: Resolution for Review of the Affirmative Action Office
Vermette has spoken with the President of the Black Faculty and Staff Council (Kim White-Mills) who has concerns about the timing of the resolution, the harshness of it, and the “immediacy” of the resolution. White-Mills said the BFSC believes the resolution is in retaliation to the office in response to the employee’s case against a student/employee who chose a book to read which she found offensive. The BFSC believes that case was a mistake and will tarnish the reputation of Lillian Charleston, Affirmative Action Officer. They believe the resolution is redundant from what the Chancellor has said in his report today. Since the university is taking on a review, it may negatively affect the good work of the office.
Baldwin said, in light of White-Mills’ remarks, that the motion should be tabled until next fall to give the university time to review the office as previously indicated. Karlson said federal law permits to review the office. Karlson said there will be a Board of Review called today or tomorrow as a result of a case brought about by a faculty member who has no idea why she is being charged with unfairness.
Fisher called the question regarding the motion by Baldwin (seconded by Blackwell). The motion carried to table the resolution until the fall.
The “harshness” of it? This critique isn’t a critique at all, it is an excuse that does not even merit serious refutation. I have seen harsh resolutions in my time, this one doesn’t come close.
The resolution is “redundant”? Again this is an excuse. There is redundancy built into the system of faculty chairs, faculty committees, faculty senates and administrations duties for a reason. Of course if there is a wolf pack mentality the purpose of such redundancy is rendered ineffective.
The “immediacy” of it? When people’s rights are being violated, Dr. Martin Luther King tells us that “We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now”.
The AAO had immediacy on their mind when Sampson first walked into Marguerite Watkins office, was chewed out for being “racist” and was declared guilty on the spot. AAO head Lillian Charleston had no problem with immediacy when she declared Sampson guilty without reviewing the contents of the book or even speaking with Sampson.
Hey Black Faculty and Staff Council (BFSC), allegedly groups like yours claim to know something about oppression. It didn’t take long for people on your committee to find out about this fiasco and you let it go on right under your noses. A student who had no one to turn to on campus was being oppressed and brutalized by the administration and you did nothing to help him. Speaking of immediacy your group should have been the very first ones to stand up and put an end to this.
BFSC you are worried about the “reputation of Lillian Charleston”after she had become a principal perpetrator of this injustice? What about the reputation of a man who was falsely accused of such wickedness and continues to be falsely accused by the IUPUI administration to the national press? Where was your concern over his reputation, or that of IUPUI as an institution?
BFSC believes the resolution is “retaliation”? This is the final straw that gives away BFSC’s agenda. It’s not about fixing a problem after a huge failure that violated the rules and the law. It’s not about making sure that innocent students are protected. It isn’t about the integrity of the process. It isn’t about restoring the public trust as a faculty community with a reasonable review of the procedures and actions taken. To BFSC it is about retaliation against Lillian Charleston because she is black and Sampson is white.
So Professors Ward, Spechler and the others who authored and voted against tabling the resolution are engaging in retaliation according to the BFSC. They aren’t honest people trying to do the right thing – oh no – not according to the BFSC – the retaliation charge, with all of the trimmings above, is the thinly veiled accusation designed to make them all back down – the authors of that resolution are out to get a black woman’s scalp … it’s retaliation they say … the unspoken but clearly delivered message – they are racists.
Welcome to the world of how radical politically correct racial entrepreneurs operate, as if the actions of Lillian Charleston and the other cases at FIRE’s web site (www.thefire.org) weren’t enough to convince you. Such people do not operate out of any sense of justice, they operate using the tactics of brutality. I wonder what the great Frederick Douglas would have to say to such people.
IUPUI Continues to Violate its Own AAO Dispute Procedure:
Let us begin with the sections that IUPUI has violated. Here is the link to the document:
- The uncertainty and scrutiny of a discrimination complaint can be disruptive and difficult for all involved to tolerate. A copy of these guidelines will be provided to all parties to inform them of the system to be followed in handling incidents of alleged discrimination.
Sampson states that he has no memory of ever being provided with a copy of the procedures and after reading them it comes as no big surprise. Sampson wrote back and stated that they did not give him a copy and he has checked his records to be sure. Sampson kept every document form his AAO “interviews”.
- Complaint investigations will be conducted as promptly as possible, and the results will be reported in writing to the complainant and those persons party to the resolution of the matter.
IUPUI PR Director Rich Schneider tells press outlets such as the Wall Street Journal and this blog that Sampson is accused of other racial harassment that they refuse to elaborate on, even to Sampson himself. What about the results of those charges in a prompt manner? It is July; this has been going on for months and you still can’t elaborate?
Fairness and Objectivity. – The procedure, so far as possible, must protect the rights of all involved.
Notice – Once a person becomes the focus of a complaint, the identity of the complainant, and the nature of the complaint.
Thoroughness – The office is committed to the principle that complete and accurate information should form the basis of responses to complaints.
Finality – Those handling complaints should communicate the results of their investigations in a clear and timely way to provide a sense of completion.
No recognition of Keith Sampson’s constitutional rights were even considered until the Indiana ACLU forced the issue.
Sampson has not been advised who the identity of unknown complainants are or their nature, once again because Schneider won’t elaborate.
Complete and accurate information? The AAO would not even review the book or listen to what Sampson had to say. Watkins and Charleston found Sampson guilty without even a reasonable attempt at complete and accurate investigation.
Finality?? …. ok I have made my point. Aren’t full disclosure clauses like the above supposed to be there to avoid exactly this situation?
AAO Dispute Procedures Weighted Against the Accused and Protect Bad Faith Accusers.
Chancellor Bantz wants to bring in an outside party to review local IUPUI Affirmative Action Complaint Procedures. There are pressing and structural problems with the IUPUI AAO complaint resolution procedure.
Action taken against those who file AAO complaints are addressed twice in the document.
University Policy prohibits retaliation against an individual because of the filing of a complaint, or cooperating with a complaint investigation. Such incidents will be considered seriously and action will be taken expeditiously to prevent such conduct.
No one at the university may reprimand or discriminate against a person for having initiated in good faith an inquiry or complaint.
The second line contains the line about good faith and is pretty straight forward. The first line is a real problem and should be changed. The document does not define “retaliation” so it can be construed to be any action taken against someone who makes a bad faith complaint as the evidence indicates Nakea Vinson has.
The faculty who wrote the resolution above were obviously operating in good faith but were accused of “retaliation” by the BFSC anyway. Rest assured if this case did not hit the media, and the university knew that Vinson had an axe to grind against Sampson and sought to take action against her for a bad faith accusation, the BFSC would scream retaliation. The policy needs to directly address how to deal with bad faith accusations.
Appeals Hearing Board, as Defined by the AAO Dispute Procedures, is Weighted Heavily Against the Accused:
In the event the complaint goes to a hearing board:
1. Each disputing party will choose one member.
2. the two members selected will choose a third member to constitute a three-member Hearing Board meeting the above criteria.
3. In the event that neither party initially chooses a tenured faculty member, then each party will choose an additional member of the Hearing Board from the list of available tenured faculty members. The four Hearing Board members will select an additional tenured faculty member.
*In the case of a conflict of interest, the Affirmative Action Officer may arrange for another selection.
8. All parties to the dispute may question evidence presented by the other parties, but this questioning will be carried out by the hearing board.
I have been in these campus hearing boards before, and FIRE has cataloged many of them. They are nothing more than a star chamber with a pre-defined result and this one is especially bad as I will explain.
In order for the hearing to not be a shut out against the student, the student must find a member who is not only sympathetic to his position, but will aggressively stand up for the rules, and the law and will take his position seriously and even advocate for it if need be. Good luck finding one.
Retaliation is so common on campus, especially among the radical PC groups, that California had to pass a law that protected faculty and staff who stand up for the free speech rights of students. University of California is fighting the law. Any examination of the Student Press Law Center or FIRE’s web site will show you. I have even seen cases of unfair retaliation right here at IUSB which is also explained on FIRE’s web site. I am currently authoring a book on this very subject. The problem is epidemic.
Being tenured is little protection. There are all sorts of ways to retaliate against tenured professors. Bonus money, merit pay, research money, class schedules, taking away on campus offices are just a small part of a long list. Bogus charges against other faculty are not uncommon at all. Just ask Dr. Michael S. Adams who is currently embroiled in a lawsuit against the University of North Carolina. He is one example of many and if the member of the board you pick is nontenured, forget it.
There are nontenured professors and staff here at IUSB who, outside of class, will only speak with me in private so they are not seen. People walk on eggshells when it comes to radicalized minority groups on campus for reasons by now are obvious.
Another problem is that, a majority of professors have similar political and cultural views. For example it is no secret that in many departments Democrats, or those even further to the left, outnumber Republicans by 10 or 15 to 1 depending on what campus you are on. So finding someone who will buck the radicalized PC crowd is very difficult.
Here at IUSB I know of professors who have served on such hearing boards who have knowingly broken the law and IU rules when finding a student guilty. One told me to my face “good luck finding an attorney to take the case” another tenured professor who has served on these boards told me that students come and go, but “we have to work with these people”.
So now the two who are chosen select another person and if not enough tenured faculty are on the commission you see that the procedures are in place to stack one or two on. Remember that faculty peer committees often decide who gets tenure or not, so if someone got tenured it is a surefire indicator that they went with the flow for 6-7 years and didn’t rock the boat.
If there is a conflict of interest (like a person chosen is sympathetic to the accused, meaning that the accused and the chosen board member know each other – hey it can be interpreted that way) that person is thrown out and the Affirmative Action Officer who in this case was a principal offender, hand picks a new member. How convenient. Ironically in the case of Robert Francis here at IUSB, a principal offender was a judicial affairs/affirmative action officer.
Line 8 is a real beauty, many universities are not even this bold in its bias. The accused can question any evidence, but may not have anyone to cross examine the witnesses. The accused has to count on a member of that board to act as his defense attorney to get any aggressive cross examination done to get down to the truth. As I have demonstrated already the odds against that happening are immense.
The peer pressure to not buck the AAO, vice-chancellors over the AAO and the other faculty is very strong.
The AAO can call in people in mandatory meetings, compel witnesses etc. The accused has no power or facilities to take depositions and get statements from people. If people don’t want to give the student a statement they simply don’t show up. Like most star chambers, there are no pre-established rules of evidence. All in all, the student is put in the position of proving himself innocent and even if they do, as the defense had done in the Robert Francis case, they find him guilty anyway.
What the accused really needs is a well paid ombudsman whose job it is to defend the accused and has the power to investigate a case properly and who is structurally set to be outside of the system and reports to an off campus authority. The ombudsman must be immune to peer pressure or retaliation.
FIRE to IUPUI – Stop Publicly Smearing Your Students:
FIRE Calls on IUPUI to Resolve Sampson Matter for Good
by Azhar Majeed
July 17, 2008
In a letter sent today to Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) Chancellor Charles R. Bantz and others, FIRE calls on IUPUI to clarify the university’s official stance regarding the racial harassment charge against Keith John Sampson.
As we have discussed on The Torch recently, IUPUI Director of Media Relations Rich Schneider has engaged in publicly smearing Sampson to the press, stating that the racial harassment finding against Sampson was based not on his reading the book in question, but rather some undisclosed harassing behavior. Schneider has refused to reveal the nature of this alleged behavior. In light of the vague, unsubstantiated statements made by Schneider, it is perhaps not very surprising that Sampson’s case continues to generate plenty of press coverage.
In today’s letter, FIRE calls on IUPUI to set the record straight once and for all:
[D]oes IUPUIbelieve that Sampson has engaged in any harassing or not? If so, due process demands you let him know what he is being charged with and by whom, but if not, you should inform Mr. Schneider that baseless accusations of such a serious nature should not be made against students or employees. It appears that almost all parties in this case wish it to be resolved, and we hope that everyone can finally move on.
It is indeed our hope that this matter will soon be behind us. That, however, is up to the IUPUI administration.
FIRE’s Media Roundup on IUPUI Case:
Weekly Media Round-up: IUPUI Heats up the News Cycle, ..
by Peter Bonilla
July 18, 2008
FIRE’s public efforts on behalf of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis(IUPUI) student-employee KeithJohn Sampson, who was convicted of racial harassment for reading the book Notre Dame vs. the Klan: How the Fighting Irish Defeated the Ku Klux Klan, received a major boost this week, courtesy of the Associated Press. The AP ran a story covering IUPUI Chancellor Charles Bantz’s belated apology to Sampson following months of contemptible treatment at the hands of the university and IUPUI’s Affirmative Action office. The article, which first appeared on July 14, has been picked up by more than 200 separate news outlets, including CBS News, MSNBC, The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, and The Los Angeles Times, to name just a few.
The AP article has also been cited and/or reproduced in dozens of blogs, including that of political commentator and radio and television host Sean Hannity. Other blogs to pick up on the feature include Hot Air, Richard Shenkman’s aptly titled Just How Stupid Are We?, and Indiana University-South Bend student Chuck Norton’s IUSB Vision blog, which has provided extensive coverage of recent developments in Sampson’s case. FIRE is thrilled to have so much attention drawn to IUPUI’s shameful treatment of Sampson, and hopes that this flurry of media attention will compel the administration to bring the matter to rest for good.
Commentary – an Open Letter to Chancellor Bantz:
Chancellor Bantz – with all due respect – What do the people of Indiana pay you a fat six figure salary for? We pay you to exercise some good judgment in a timely manner. We pay you to be a good steward of your responsibilities and so the public trust given to you is not tainted.
Chancellor Bantz, any privately educated high school sophomore who has taken a good civics class can tell you what the First Amendment basically means and that you cannot punish someone for reading a book no matter how much someone doesn’t like it. Chancellor Bantz, you have a university with lawyers and communications law professors and constitutional law experts at your fingertips; so all you would have to do when you found out about this situation was call one of them up and ask them what the law is and what the case law is. A phonecall is all it would have taken. But no…. you had to wait till you got not just one, but TWO letters from the Indiana ACLU.
“I am sure you see the absurdity of a university threatening an employee withdiscipline for reading a scholarly work that deals with the efforts of Notre Dame students in the 1920s to fight the KKK,” – American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana attorney Ken Falk to IUPUI.
“By first finding Sampson guilty of racial harassment simply for reading a book in the break room, then refusing to admit the gross impropriety of such a finding, IUPUI makes a mockery of its legal and moral obligations as a public institution of higher learning,” – Adam Kissel, director of FIRE’s Individual Rights Defense Program to IUPUI.
Was that enough??? No. The IU Planet reported in March that some IUPUI employees were “determined to strike out at Sampson”, so that means your administration and faculty knew it. Was it investigated properly…not on your life. You had to wait until after FIRE and the blogosphere and the Indianapolis Star poured on the pressure before you notified FIRE, with your April 17th letter, that you intended to clear Sampson of wrong doing ….. or so we thought.
At that point all you had to do was apologize to Sampson and be done with it. So what did you do, you had to wait for the Wall Street Journal to write about it on July 7th to finally motivate you to apologize on behalf of your administration. Time to exercise good judgment yet? Not on your life…. The AAO shut itself in like a clam and refused to answer questions and your administration, in the form of your PR Director Rich Schneider, using thinly veiled language to the press, claims that there is other racial harassment that Sampson is guilty of, but in violation of IUPUI local policy you wont tell Sampson what it is. To top it off your “apology” was parsed a little too far to be considered totally sincere. The story is picking up media interest again.
Chancellor Bantz, both you and Lillian Charleston were paid six figure incomes to exercise some good judgment in a timely manner and secure the public trust you were given. How do you think you have done?
UPDATE I – The outside EOE investigator Chancellor Bantz brought in to review the AAO’s actions and procedures also has a history. Barbara Mawhiney was the EOE & Affirmative Action Director at Arizona State, where they had restricted some classes by race. Will the disappointments ever end?
UPDATE II – New EOE Director at IUPUI has a history of violating due process rights of those she “investigates”
Newly appointed IUPUI EOE Director Kim Kirkland (Charleston’s replacement) has a history of violating the due process of those she “investigates”. Court documents obtained by The Vision show that the accused was threatened not to obtain council, was not allowed to see specific allegations against him, was denied documents in order to prepare a defense. The accused due process was violated and he was fired. The accused sued and after discovery the university folded and restored employment to the accused. Below are the court documents.
Attorney Max Rayle tells the Vision, “I stand by my court pleadings” and confirms that “due process issues involved Kirkland.”
Kirkland’s job description at Bowling Green State University:
Kim D. Kirkland is the Affirmative Action Officer & Senior Investigator for the Office of Equity & Diversity at Bowling Green State University. In this position, Kirkland monitors university compliance with federal and state equal opportunity and nondiscrimination laws and regulations. She monitors institutional employment practices and procedures, conducts investigations and resolves discrimination and harassment complaints to determine if violations exist, to circumvent potential litigation, and propose corrective actions and/or interventions.
It was her job to make sure that university rules, procedures and contractual obligations were followed precisely to avoid lawsuits just like this one. It looks like IUPUI’s hiring and background check process is ineffective to put it mildly. Can faith and trust in this administration and this office ever be restored?